Thanksgiving in Rome
From Amy Welborn (presently in Rome) tells us How to get a bunch of Americans to start tearing up, immediately?:
Start playing America the Beautiful as your closing song at a Thanksgiving day Mass at an American-centered parish in a foreign country. Even if it’s Italy, and even if it’s a beautiful Roman day outside. Halfway through the first verse, I looked around, and saw six people wiping their eyes….
It was Thanksgiving Day Mass at Santa Susanna, the American parish in Rome, run by the Paulists. I got there about halfway through, so I didn’t hear Cardinal Foley’s homily. But I did meet him as he juggled coffee and a muffin, and also had the great honor of meeting Ambassador Mary Ann Glendon, who was there in attendance, and read President Bush’s Thanksgiving Day proclamation after Mass.
Zenit News Service relays Thanksgiving Address of Cardinal Foley, grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem, at the Santa Susanna Church in Rome:
Happy Thanksgiving! Even though Thanksgiving Day was officially celebrated in Italy several Sundays ago, the observance cannot begin to match an American Thanksgiving Day, the most American of all holidays, especially because it is celebrated by people of all faiths and of all political parties. It is the one day which unites us all.
We may be at war on two fronts: Iraq and Afghanistan; we may be in the midst of the greatest world economic crisis in at least thirty and perhaps seventy years and we may — according to not always reliable polls — be disliked more than we have been at any time in our history, but we still have much for which to be grateful.
We have our lives, our families, our faith and many material and spiritual gifts — not one of which is more important than the Mass.
It is truly a joy to be with you here today, because I do not think that there is a better way of marking Thanksgiving than beginning the celebration with the Eucharist, which itself means “thanksgiving.”
I pray that, as Americans, we may truly be united in giving thanks to God for our fabulous and fruitful land, a land to which — despite our alleged unpopularity — people still wish to come in great numbers. I pray that, as Americans, we may be united in giving thanks for our democracy, for our political system; some, myself included, might be deeply concerned about the morality of policies which may be implemented after our recent elections, but no one can deny that probably in no other nation but the United States of America could a man of mixed race who had lived in so many different places have been elected to the highest office in the land. It is a great tribute to American democracy and it is truly a historic occurrence. We give thanks for American democracy, but at the same time we pray for future American policy.
And that is a great fact for which to be thankful. As Americans we enjoy freedom of religion and freedom of speech. We can advocate what we believe to be right, in keeping with our Founding Fathers, that all persons are endowed with the right to life, and we can pray that God may touch the hearts of our newly elected President, of the members of Congress and of our judges to give recognition in human law to what we believe is guaranteed in divine law, the right to life from the moment of conception until the moment of natural death.
Today, as we give thanks for our lives, for our faith, for our freedom, and for our nation, our concluding prayer can be the prayer of our newly elected president: “God bless all of you and God bless the United States of America.”